US 20090052892 A1
Embodiments of the present invention route a wavelength division multiplexed signal across multiple communication paths using skew characteristics of at least some of the communication paths. The network is a wavelength division multiplexed optical transport network. The plurality of communication paths involves different signal and path attributes such as a plurality of carrier wavelengths, optical carrier groups, physical communication paths (different nodes, different fibers along a same path, or any combination of the foregoing), or any other differentiating factors between two paths.
1. A networking system for routing a signal over a plurality of channels, the system comprising:
a transmission node that transmits the signal on at least one of the plurality of channels;
a first path that transports a first portion of the signal on at least one channel in the plurality of channels;
a second path that transports a second portion of the signal on at least one second channel in the plurality of channels;
an initialization module, coupled within the networking system, that determines the first path and the second path based at least in part on determined skew relative to the first path and the second path; and
a receiver node that receives the first and second portions of the signal and reassembles the first and second portions of the signal.
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21. A transceiver that determines a communication path, the transceiver comprising:
an input on which a signal is received;
a deinterleaver, coupled to the input, that partitions the signal into a first signal portion and a second signal portion; and
a controller, coupled to the deinterleaver, that determines a first communication path for the first signal portion and a second communication path for the second signal portion, the controller using skew between the first and second communication paths to determine the first and the second communication paths.
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31. A method for routing a signal over a plurality of channels, the method comprising:
determining a first communication path for transmitting a first portion of the signal over at least one of the plurality of channels;
determining a second communication path for transmitting a second portion of the signal over at least one of the plurality of channels; and
verifying that skew between the first communication path and the second communication path is acceptable.
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43. A method for maintaining skew data, the method comprising:
determining the latency data for a span;
storing the latency data and associated information identifying the span;
updating the data based on further determination of latency data;
calculating latency data for a path from the latency data for a plurality of spans; and
determining skew between a plurality of paths.
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This application is related to U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/885,832, entitled “Communication Network with Skew Path Factoring,” filed Jan. 19, 2007 and U.S. application Ser. No. 11/781,912, filed on Jul. 23, 2007 entitled “Communication Network with Skew Path Monitoring and Adjustment,” both of which are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.
A. Technical Field
This invention relates generally to optical transport networks, and more particularly to the management of skew across a wave division multiplexed network.
B. Background of the Invention
Optical networks are able to communicate information at high data rates. An optical transport system 10 is shown in
Embodiments of the present invention route a signal as signal portions over multiple paths in an optical network using skew characteristics of at least some of the communication paths. The network can be a wave division multiplexed (“WDM”) optical transport network using wavelength division multiplexed wavelengths and/or optical carrier groups (“OCGs”) over a fiber link to another node in the network. The plurality of communication paths involves different signal and path attributes such as a plurality of carrier wavelengths, optical carrier groups, physical communication paths (different nodes, different fibers along a same path, or any combination of the foregoing), or any other differentiating factors between two paths.
In certain embodiments of the invention, communication paths are selected relative to an analysis of skew on one or more of the selected communication paths and corresponding wavelengths. The associated information is routed on a path or paths with a minimum skew so that the sequential arrival of the information at a receiver is improved. Accordingly, the transmission of the associated information on the communication path(s) is controlled so that reassembly of the information becomes more efficient due to the relative arrival of portions of the information from a network to the receiver. The transmission of the associated information may be done as a virtual super wavelength or as a plurality of super wavelength groups.
In some embodiments, latency information is stored and maintained in a look-up table. The latency information can be used to estimate the skew between two network paths.
In certain other embodiments of the invention, a path with a preferred minimum skew is not available and an alternate routing is performed. In some embodiments, the signal may be unable to be co-routed on multiple paths and a notification is sent indicating that co-routing is unavailable at that time.
In other embodiments, a failure event has occurred and protection switching is performed taking into consideration the skew of the path switched to as a result of the failure event.
Reference will be made to embodiments of the invention, examples of which may be illustrated in the accompanying figures. These figures are intended to be illustrative, not limiting. Although the invention is generally described in the context of these embodiments, it should be understood that it is not intended to limit the scope of the invention to these particular embodiments.
The following description is set forth for purpose of explanation in order to provide an understanding of the invention. However, it is apparent that one skilled in the art will recognize that embodiments of the present invention, some of which are described below, may be incorporated into a number of different computing systems and devices. The embodiments of the present invention may be present in hardware, software or firmware. Structures shown below in the diagram are illustrative of exemplary embodiments of the invention and are meant to avoid obscuring the invention. Furthermore, connections between components within the figures are not intended to be limited to direct connections. Rather, data between these components may be modified, re-formatted or otherwise changed by intermediary components.
Reference in the specification to “one embodiment”, “in one embodiment” or “an embodiment” etc. means that a particular feature, structure, characteristic, or function described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment of the invention. The appearances of the phrase “in one embodiment” in various places in the specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment.
The portion of the networking system shown in
In accordance with certain embodiments of the invention, nodes can be traditional analog nodes, digital nodes, hybrid nodes that allow signal management, or any combination thereof. Analog nodes may be amplifiers, or regeneration nodes. Nodes can also be digital nodes, implementing an optical to electrical to optical translation (“OEO”) such as described in case as disclosed and taught in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/267,331, filed Oct. 8, 2003, entitled “TRANSMITTER PHOTONIC INTEGRATED CIRCUITS (TxPIC) AND OPTICAL TRANSPORT NETWORKS EMPLOYING TxPICs” and in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/267,212, filed Oct. 8, 2002, entitled “DIGITAL OPTICAL NETWORK (‘DON’) ARCHITECTURE”, and U.S. Pat. No. 7,116,851, issued Oct. 3, 2006, entitled “AN OPTICAL SIGNAL RECEIVER PHOTONIC INTEGRATED CIRCUIT (RxPIC), AN ASSOCIATED OPTICAL SIGNAL TRANSMITTER PHOTONIC INTEGRATED CIRCUIT (TxPIC) AND AN OPTICAL TRANSPORT NETWORK UTILIZING THESE CIRCUITS”, all of which patent applications and patents are incorporated herein by reference. Reference to measuring signal performance can be implemented in either the electrical or optical domain.
Information can be transported as a signal or signals.
Each channel can be transported on a different communication path 3250, 3252, 3254, 3256 providing for added flexibility in routing the signals. Consequently, the networking system is not limited to selecting a path capable of transporting the entire signal since the signal is divided into multiple signal portions that can be transported separately. This improves QoS and permits higher bandwidth signal transportation over longer distances.
However, since the signal transported was divided prior to transmission, it must be combined at the destination node 3220 to recreate the transported signal. In order for the original signal to be restored at the destination node 3220, the skew between the channels 3235 should be within a skew constraint. Skew may be defined as a variation relative to the initial timing of a component of a launched data signal or differential latency between the signal portions.
Skew can arise from many different causes depending upon the transmission medium and length over which information is communicated. For example, intrachannel skew and interchannel skew can arise because different wavelength carriers propagate at different rates. In particular, a high frequency carrier signal will generally take a relatively longer period of time to propagate along an identical length fiber as a lower frequency carrier signal. Skew can also arise because the different channels are transported on different paths. The paths may be of varying lengths or have varying numbers of intermediary nodes. Skew becomes an increasingly important consideration when routing signals on different paths because the skew can grow tremendously as a result of varying latencies between the paths.
As shown in
Embodiments of the present invention provide for route selection and skew adjustment 206A in communication network 206 via controller 226 in the control plane 220 of network 200. The controller 226 receives traditional routing factors input 222, such as distance, traffic load, and other factors related to characteristics of the path(s). Controller 226 also receives system skew information input 224 that can be derived from theoretical skew data calculation input 224B described below in reference to
In some embodiments, controller 226 can also receive monitored skew data input 224C from monitor module 236. Monitor module 236 monitors the skew in the network at a particular interval and provides real-time monitored skew data 224C to the controller 226. The monitored skew data may differ from the skew input received from the empirical skew data 224A and the theoretical skew data 224B.
System skew 224 may be existing skew properties in the network that must be overcome in order to meet an allowable skew specification at a destination. Additionally, controller 226 also receives input data 228 for skew correction, such as theoretical and available electronic and optical skew adjustment resources, re-routing options and availability and prioritization of resources, etc.
In some embodiments, controller 226 can also receive input from initialization module 230 and notification module 232. Initialization module 230 performs functions associated with initial determination of network paths when ingress data 204 is sent through communication network 206. The initialization module 230 considers skew in selecting a communication path for the signals transported. In the event no paths can be selected with acceptable skew, the notification module 232 sends a notification alerting a user of the system that no path can be selected with acceptable skew.
In some embodiments, protection switching module 242 detects a failure for example a broken cable or a cable that has sufficient signal degradation to effectively be broken. The detection could also be accomplished as part of the skew analysis since a failure will result in a large skew value. Protection switching module 242 also performs a protection switch. The protection switching can use any protection switching technique. However, when the protection switching is performed, skew is analyzed and considered as described in this disclosure.
In one embodiment, the controller utilizes look-up table 234 to maintain data related to skew. The data related to skew can be stored in the form of latency values associated with each span or multiple spans. By way of demonstration, an exemplary version of look-up table 234 is shown below. One skilled in the art will understand that the table shown is only one example and that the table can be stored in software, hardware, firmware or a combination thereof.
The information contained within look-up table 234 may also be stored in another, non-tabular, format. The table below has two columns: path and latency. The path column includes information related to various different paths within the network system that are available. The path information could be related to a communication between two nodes along a fiber or between two nodes along a fiber with intermediary nodes or systems. The latency column indicates the latency associated with the path in the same row. The present invention, including look-up table 234, could operate in conjunction with a conventional networking system.
The exemplary look-up table above illustrates using latency values for each span rather than every path in the network. One skilled in that art will understand the table could be expanded to include latency values associated with additional paths as well as skew data associated with span or path pairs or groupings.
The latency values in the above look-up table can be determined empirically resulting in empirical skew data 224A, theoretically resulting in theoretical skew data 224B, or dynamically by monitoring the network system resulting in monitored skew data 224C, as will be described below with reference to
The above look-up table can be used to determine the skew between any two or more paths on the networking system shown in
1) n1 to n2 to n3
2) n1 to n4 to n3
3) n1 to n2 to n6 to n3
4) n1 to n4 to n5 to n3
5) n1 to n2 to n4 to n5 to n3
6) n1 to n2 to n6 to n5 to n3
7) n1 to n4 to n5 to n6 to n3
8) n1 to n4 to n2 to n6 to n3
In one embodiment, the communication between nodes n1 and n3 can be divided into two or more signal portions. Each signal portion can be transported on a different path. For example, one portion can be transported on path number 1 (n1 to n2 to n3) and another portion can be transported on path number 8 (n1 to n4 to n2 to n6 to n3). Controller 226 can use look-up table 234 to determine the latency associated with path number 1 and the latency associated with path number 8 by summing the latencies of the individual spans or by incorporating additional rows in the table shown above to store the latencies for paths with intermediary nodes. For example, the latency for path number 1 (L1) is the sum of t1 and t2 and the latency for path number 8 (L8) is the sum of t3, t4, t8, and t10. Additionally, the skew between path number 1 and path number 8 can be determined. Alternatively, look-up table 234 can be expanded to include skew as well as latency. The skew between path number 1 and path number 8 is the absolute value of the difference between L1 and L8.
Skew can also be determined between three or more paths using a similar equation. For example, skew between path numbers 1, 2, and 8 can be similarly calculated. The latency associated with path number 2 (L2) is the sum of t3 and t7. The skew between the three paths is the absolute value of the difference between the greatest and least of the latency values. For example, assuming L1<L2<L8, then the skew is the absolute value of the difference between L1 and L8. A similar skew determination can be used for skew between four or more paths.
Initialization module 230 can use the information relating to skew to select routes or paths for the various signals and signal portions. For example, initialization module 230 can compare the skew between paths numbers 1 and 8 to a skew threshold. If the skew is less than the skew threshold, then the information can be co-routed on paths 1 and 8. If the skew is greater than the skew threshold, then other available paths can be analyzed based on skew using a similar procedure to the one described above. If there are paths that can be selected, then the initialization module 230 and the route selection/skew adjustment module 206A selects the paths that meet the skew constraints. Otherwise, notification module 232 sends an alert indicating that the signal cannot be divided and transported. Additionally, each possible path can be examined and the paths with the least skew can be chosen. Furthermore, skew can be included along with a number of other considerations used in selecting an optimal set of paths. The other considerations may be bandwidth considerations, traffic load, Quality of Service, route length, latency, and any other relevant consideration.
One way to determine the skew threshold or skew constraint is to evaluate the amount of skew that can be compensated for or adjusted by the networking system, as described below in reference to
The modules and functionality shown in the control plane of
The present invention is well suited to any coupling arrangement, via any medium, to allow communication between the data and control planes in communication networks. The present invention may only link a portion of the nodes in parallel, which then could subsequently link a coupled series of nodes.
Alternatively, a distributed network management architecture could be employed. In particular, at least one node could have connectivity to another node (intranodal) to allow for the communication of resource status in the node for skew adjustment. The present invention is well suited to any form of connectivity that allows for distributed control for skew measurement, communication, status, control, and/or etc. to/from a node, e.g., by optical supervisory channel (“OSC”). A given gateway network element (“GNE”) might have connectivity to multiple service network elements (“SNEs”).
Alternatively, each node may have standalone skew measurement and correction capacities to simplify the required interaction between the nodes. The present invention is well suited to any combination of these or other control models that allow skew measurement and/or adjustment.
Another way to determine latency, and therefore skew, is to determine it empirically by measuring the skew between two paths. Skew can be determined empirically prior to setting up a communication path.
When the signal is received at receiver node 3525 a set of first-in-first-out (“FIFO”) buffers 3530 and 3535 can be used to store the signal, including the timing marker. The time difference between the timing markers indicates the skew between the two communication paths shown in
In one embodiment, both theoretical and empirical skew determinations may be employed. Look-up table 234 may be created and/or updated based on theoretical skew data 224A, empirical skew data 224B, or a combination thereof. Monitor module 236 determines monitored skew data 224C by repeating the empirical skew determination described above at regular intervals. Monitored skew data 224C can be used to dynamically update look-up table 234.
The flowchart in
A communication path(s) is selected 1704 in order to test skew properties thereof. Communication paths may be defined as having various lengths with differing number of intermediary nodes including, but not limited to, span-wise evaluation, route-wise evaluation (e.g., from source node to destination node), or round-trip-wise and then back to original source node).
A marker is generated 1706 for transmission on the chosen communication path(s). The marker is transmitted 1710 on multiple communication paths in the network. The communication paths can be tested in a parallel fashion, such that relative skew between two communication paths may be measured, or tested in series with synchronization and timing comparisons made by comparison to an accurate reference clock. The transmission of the test signal with marker can be performed either while the entire network is down, or while the network is communicating traffic on channels other than the channels, or communication paths, to be tested.
The skew is measured 1712 and output as 1712A skew performance and communicated to either local nodes or to centralized controller. Skew data can be stored as a new variable, or object, in the Link Stated Advisory (“LSA”) table, for consideration in choosing a communication path in the network.
If diversity of communication paths exists 1720, in terms of carrier wavelengths, OCG groups, physical routing on nodes or fibers, etc., then in step 1720A, a new route is selected and is evaluated using the marker at step 1706 onward. In this manner, the combinations and permutations of communication paths available in the communication network can be tested and evaluated for future use. The test process 1700 can be repeated at timely intervals, such as programmed maintenance (“PM”), existing downtime, or as interleaved with revenue traffic on the network, as resources permit, especially during low traffic periods. If an update provides a substantial change in the skew performance, notices or interrupt signals may be generated and forwarded to appropriate users, controllers, for remedial management of the network. In one embodiment, the networking system not only determines the skew, but can also compensate for the skew.
The quantity and frequency of channels within an OCG may vary in accordance with the network system and environment in which it operates. For example, an OCG may depend on the resources available on the network, the skew and traditional metric performances of the network, and the controller assigning the resources. The VSW1A is received and re-sequenced at the destination node (e.g. node N3) with acceptable skew performance, for reconstruction of the client signal and egress from the network. The information routing or skew adjustment described herein can be employed in combination or permutation with each other to provide additional options in routing and skew adjustment for the overall system.
The allocation of data across the multiple routes is determined by the skew between the channels (e.g., λ1, λK, λL, λM). If associated data signals are transmitted on route P1 410, then the resulting skew is the time difference between the earliest signal tE and latest signal tL occurring between the signals at their destination, node N3, illustrated as skew 404 (e.g., time ts1) with an associated skew dispersion slope of K1. Alternatively, if the associated data signals are transmitted via route P2 at 412, there results at the destination node N3 a timing skew 406 is illustrated, such as tS2, with an associated skew dispersion slope of K2.
The skew associated with the different routes P1 and P2 may be analyzed at the destination node to select an optimal route. These different skews may also be compared to certain parameters 408, such as max allowable skew tMAX, or maximum allowable skew slope KMAX in order to select a preferred route. The skew may also be analyzed at intermediate nodes to select an optimal route or identify that skew falls within parameters.
The evaluation of skew may identify that skew has fallen outside of a preferred specification or range, and initiate a skew adjusting procedure. The skew consideration of each link, or span, in the network may be considered and summed for analysis relative to the allowable skew tolerance for a given communication network specification or standard.
The format of the signal portions may depend upon the protocol of a given system such as protocols defining the distribution of payload, forward error correction (“FEC”) data, overhead (OH) data, etc. Assuming initial timing 402 in
At an intermediate node, for example, if the signal is wavelength-swapped, then interchannel dispersion occurring between high and low frequencies can be compensated by inversing the wavelengths where the longest wavelength is swapped for the shortest transmission wavelength and the next longer wavelength is swapped for a shorter wavelength. In effect, the wavelengths are reversed in a manner that previously longer wavelength signals are substituted with shorter wavelength signals. For example, signal portion C3 and C2 are rerouted to be carried on swapped frequencies (e.g., C3 is now carried on λK and C2 is now carried on λL). This can be accomplished by optical signal wavelength conversion, or by an optical-to-electrical-to-optical conversion that reassigns a signal portion to be transmitted on a channel with a different frequency laser.
If associated data signals are received at node N2 with dispersion slope K3, as shown in the upper left side of
In an alternative embodiment, any signal portion can be reassigned to any carrier frequency, as best fits the overall skew reduction for the system, e.g., for non-linear channel performance as illustrated at 422 in
Referring now to
Referring now to
A VWG can be any size and grouping of signals as is appropriate for channel bandwidth between nodes, and that skew and other performance specifications allow. In the present example, associated data, VSW, is initially scheduled to be transmitted as associated client signal portions C1-C4 on carriers λ1, λK, λL, and λM, where client signal portions C1-C4 refer to a portion of the client signal that is transmitted on any available carrier, e.g., λ1, λK, λL, and λM. The specific content of C1-C4 and the specific wavelengths on any given path are decided by the controller, such as a central controller 302 or a node controller. Thus, as the traffic rate increases, the content distribution C1-C4 may vary across the respective carriers, e.g., λ1, λK, λL, and λM. In fact, if the controller so evaluates it, the client signal may be adjusted from content distribution C1-C4 on carriers, e.g., λ1, λK, λL, and λM to content distribution C1-C3 on respective carriers, e.g. λ1, λK, λL, and λM.
However, in this illustration, sufficient channel count, or bandwidth, was not available on path P3 470 between the source node N1 and the destination node N3 to co-route the entire client signal (e.g., client signal portions C1-C4) as a Virtual Super Wavelength, VSW1B 464. Consequently, the exemplary controller, evaluate the network demands (e.g., traffic load, network resources, bandwidths, etc.) and conclude that the VSW should be divided into two or more virtual wavelength groups. For example, VWG1 may be divided into client signal portions C1 and C4 on carriers λ2 and λ31 on transmitted on path P3 470, and wavelength group VWG2 may be divided into client signal portions C2 and C3 on carriers λ4 and λ5 on path P4 472. For simplicity, it is assumed that carrier wavelengths are consistent across the several spans shown, though carrier wavelength diversity can be used.
Note that in the present embodiment, client signal portions C1 and C4 are co-routed as one VWG2 on outer wavelengths λ2 and λ31, while client signal portions C1 and C4 are co-routed as another VWG3 on nominal wavelengths λ4 and λ5, similar to that illustrated in prior
Different quality of service signals may be routed in this manner to provide preferred performance characteristics. If client signal portions C2 and C3 are more time-sensitive, or contain more sensitive data, the portions may be transmitted on a preferred physical route, preferred carrier wavelength, preferred grouping, and/or preferred fiber (i.e., preferred with respect to minimized skew slope, signal dispersion, fiber dispersion, and resultant skew between client signal portions).
A client signal portion by itself, or a VWG, may be re-routed at a node to travel a different path. A re-routing of this sort is accomplished by communicating the client signal portion(s) to a multiplexing device, such as a band multiplexing module (“BMM”) shown in subsequent
Referring in particular to
Transceiver node 502 is a multi-channel device with multiple DLM 503 modules each of which contain an RxPIC and a TxPIC, a group of which are coupled into a band MUX module (“BMM”) that multiplexes the range of wavelengths (e.g., TxPIC1 λ1 through TxPIC8 λ32) into a WDM signal for transmission on fiber link 510 to a downstream node. Inputs 508 and 509 are coupled from upstream nodes in the communication network. Within each DLM, electronic processing and switching blocks 522 and 523 provide options to manage the transmitted information in the electrical digital domain, including skew management functions, described in more detail in subsequent figures. While all the wavelengths processed by transceiver 502 may be within in the C-band, this band may be divided between a red portion of the C-band, to represent lower wavelengths in the signal spectrum, and the blue portion of the C-band, to represent higher wavelengths in the signal spectrum. While the present embodiment constrains the spectrum of wavelengths for transmission within the C-band, the present invention is well-suited to using any combination and location of wavelengths such as utilizing multiple bands, e.g., L-band, S-band, any other band or to utilizing divisions within a band, for communication path diversity.
In certain embodiments, two nodes may be coupled via multiple fibers that can be selected for their different skew properties, such as their different dispersion properties between channels that will allow carriers at different wavelengths to arrive at a downstream node at different times. Transceiver node 502 has BMM2 521 coupled to node N3 via switch 526A and 526B on either end of the multiple links 512 through 516, which correlate, for example, to fiber F1 440 through fiber FN 444 of
Referring now to
Referring specifically to
Certain embodiments provide coupling from the photodetectors to a programmable skew measurement device 622. The skew measurement device is enabled to capture skew measurements via a comparator (e.g., a differential sense amplifier, and other digital signal processing techniques) that correlates the output from a photodetector with a predetermined bit pattern. The bit pattern is replicated in a marker of a test signal transmitted to the DLM 503A during a learning mode for the network. This skew testing process is also referenced in process 1700 of
Local controller 620 is coupled to skew measurement device 622, in the control plane 632, to provide initiation signals for test mode, selection of wavelengths to measure, and reception of skew data. Local controller 620 in the current node is coupled via a unidirectional or bidirectional line 624 to other nodes in the network to share skew data measurements, skew resource status, skew needs, and skew resource allocation.
Besides providing skew measurement control, various nodes in these embodiments of the invention provide an optional skew compensator 608 for each channel in the optical domain 602 of the node and optional skew compensator 610 in the electrical domain 604. Skew buffer 608 may be any optical device with delay properties, such as a ring resonator. In various embodiments, an optional skew compensator is provided for only a portion of the signal channels in the DLM 503A, such as on channels on which signals propagate at a higher rate per unit time, such as those on lower frequency channels. In other embodiments, optional skew compensator has a bypass that is enabled via local controller 620 if no skew adjustment is needed. Lastly, in another embodiment, no optical skew compensation is used because of higher cost, and sufficient capability of skew adjustment via routing, and/or buffering in the electrical domain.
Similar to optical skew buffer 608, optional electronic skew compensator 610 may be any buffer medium, such as a first-in-first-out (“FIFO”) memory buffer, which delays the information on the given channel. In different embodiments, optional electronic skew compensator 610 can be implemented on all channels, or only on a fraction of the channels. Optional optical skew compensator 608 can be programmable to allow a variable amount of delay on the information transmitted thereon, with a bypass to reduce any incidental propagation delay that the device may exhibit even if no skew compensation is desired. Additionally, optional electronic skew compensator 610 may be located anywhere within the optical networking system, including at transmitting nodes, receiving nodes and intermediary nodes. After the appropriate buffering in the receiver, the electrical signals are communicated to switch 612, which can be any form of switch, such as cross-point switch, which enables rerouting of information signals from one channel, or wavelength, to another channel, or wavelength.
Referring specifically to
Increased bandwidth that can be gained from co-routing signal portions as described can be particularly advantageous in submarine optical systems, for example, in communicating between continents where the communication spans large bodies of water.
Various embodiments of the invention may be applied to submarine optical systems, some of which may be used as trans-oceanic optical networks that connect terrestrial systems across a large body of water. One skilled in the art will recognize that the length in which an optical signal travels on these trans-oceanic systems presents diverse engineering issues including both dispersion and skew compensation. These issues are further complicated as the data rate of a client signal increases and the total number of channels on which a signal is transmitted expands. One skilled in the art will recognize that the following discussion, although described in relation to a trans-oceanic optical system, may be applied to any type of networking system in which skew and latency management are relevant, such as long-haul terrestrial optical systems.
On the transmission side of the system, a plurality of channels 2105 is optically multiplexed, via multiplexer 2110, to generate a WDM signal. The WDM signal is communicated along the optical span having multiple optical amplifiers or regenerators 2115 that keep the WDM signal power within a preferred range. A coarse dispersion compensation module 2120 is coupled to receive the WDM signal after having traversed all or substantially all of the optical span. The coarse dispersion compensation module 2120 compensates for dispersion effects on the WDM signal along the span, which causes signal degradation. In various embodiments of the invention, the coarse dispersion compensation module 2120 comprises dispersion compensating fiber or fibers that reduce the dispersive characteristics of the WDM signal. As the WDM travels through these dispersion compensating fiber(s), the shape of the signal is improved resulting in a better signal-to-noise ratio.
One skilled in the art will recognize that various compensating systems may be realized with different types and combinations of dispersion compensating fibers. Because the coarse dispersion compensation module 2120 compensates for dispersion across the channels of the WDM signal (i.e., the WDM signal is multiplexed), targeting certain channels within the WDM signal for dispersion compensation is difficult. Accordingly, certain embodiments of the invention provide for additional fine dispersion compensation at a channel granularity.
An optical demultiplexer 2125 separates the WDM signal into individual channels, optical signal groups, or a combination thereof. A plurality of fine dispersion compensation modules 2130 receive optical channels or optical signal groups and further apply dispersion compensation thereon. In certain embodiments of the invention, each fine dispersion compensation module 2130 is designed to compensate a certain channel or group of channels. Dispersion compensation fiber may be used within the plurality of fine dispersion compensation modules 2130.
The coarse dispersion compensation module 2120 and the fine dispersion compensation module 2130 introduce additional latency within the WDM signal. These latency effects become even more detrimental when the added latency is not spread evenly across each of the channels. In such situations, this uneven addition of latency further increases the amount of skew between one or more of the channels resulting in a more complex and demanding reassembly procedure if not address prior thereto.
Each of the dispersion compensated channels is converted into the electrical domain by a plurality of optical-to-electrical converters 2135. These converters 2135 may include PIN diodes, photoavalanche diodes, or other converters known to one of skill the art. The resulting electrical signals are provided to a plurality of skew compensating modules 2140 that adjust the differential latency between the channels so that a signal, transmitted across at least two of the channels, may be more efficiently rebuilt. This skew compensation may be achieved by effectively introducing additional latency within one or more of the channels by performing a post-buffering operation thereon. One skilled in the art will recognize that the buffer size in each of the skew compensating modules 2140 may be adjusted to enable compensation of more or less skew.
As previously discussed, skew is potentially introduced into a client signal as the channels within the WDM signal travel across the optical span and are processed within dispersion compensation modules (e.g., 2120, 2130). This skew may be compensated on the transmission side of the optical signal by pre-buffering one or more of the channels within the WDM signal, by buffering one or more of the channels within the WDM signal at an intermediary node, or post-buffering one or more of the channels at the skew compensating modules 2140, or any combination thereof. According to various embodiments of the invention, the skew compensating modules 2140 may also provide skew analysis functionality in which skew across the channels is monitored. If the skew falls outside of a desired range, a skew compensating module 2140 may generate an alarm and/or dynamically re-allocate the channels to improve the skew. Furthermore, as detailed in
Although skew compensation has been described as being performed in the electrical domain, one skilled in the art will recognize that skew compensation may also be done in the optical domain. For example, additional latency may be added to one or more channels by using an optical buffer, such as a fiber coil, to add this latency.
In various embodiments of the invention, the electrical channels are provided to a plurality of coarse skew compensating modules 2205. These modules 2205 provide a coarse adjustment of differential latency between at least two of the electrical channels. This reduction of differential latency may be achieved by buffering one or more of the electrical channels for a set period of time, which effectively reduces the corresponding skew or differential latency between the electrical channels. A plurality of fine skew compensating modules 2210 further refines the skew compensation across certain channels. In certain embodiments of the invention, the plurality of fine skew compensating modules 2210 analyze certain skew characteristics remaining after the coarse skew adjustment and further adjust the channels to further improve the corresponding skew. One skilled in the art will recognize that either or both of the coarse skew compensating modules 2210 and the fine skew compensating modules 2215 may be integrated with other electrical components within the node. For example, the fine skew compensating modules 2215 may be integrated within an electrical multiplexer 2215 that combines one or more electrical channels into a client signal.
Further electrical components or modules may be provided within the signal paths that analyze, modify or otherwise process these compensated electrical channels. These electrical components may or may not be located between the coarse skew compensating modules 2210 and the fine skew compensating modules 2215.
Using the compensated electrical signals, a client signal 2220 is transmitted from the electrical multiplexer 2215 and is generated by combining one or more of the electrical signals into a relatively higher data rate signal. This combination of electrical signals is less demanding if there is little or no skew between its component electrical channels.
In various embodiments of the invention, pre-skew compensation is performed exclusively on the transmitting node 2305, which compensates for skew across the first terrestrial network 2310, the submarine optical system 2320, and the second terrestrial network 2330. These embodiments may be more typical if a service provider is using a third-party submarine optical system to inter-connect terrestrial networks and does not have control of the landing nodes of the submarine optical system.
In other embodiments, skew compensation may be diversified throughout the system in which the first and/or second landing nodes 2315, 2325 further comprise skew compensation modules. Such a diversification allows a relatively lower amount of pre-compensation to be performed on the transmitting node 2305 and a relatively lower amount of post-compensation to be performed on the receiver node 2335. Additionally, this diversification may also provide early fault or error detection if skew becomes too large at some point within the system.
Network planning using skew considerations can also be utilized when performing a protection switching function. Protection switching occurs when there is a break in a fiber, for example, when a fiber has been severed by a backhoe or other piece of equipment. Protection switching can also occur when there is sufficient degradation in the signal to approximate a broken fiber. When a protection switch event occurs, the centralized or distributed controller determines an alternate path for the signal that would otherwise be transported on the broken fiber.
The networking system can detect a failure resulting in the need for a protection switching operation using either conventional methods or using the latency and skew determinations described above. In some embodiments using empirically determined skew data, the networking system can detect a failure based on skew because the skew will grow unacceptably large as a result of a failure. Consequently, the skew will be outside of the skew constraints requiring the system to select an alternate path or paths. Alternatively, conventional methods of failure detection can be used. Once a failure has been detected the signal will be rerouted to avoid the failure. When the signal is rerouted, the system can take into consideration the skew on the newly selected paths and route the signal accordingly as described above.
If the skew between the first two paths analyzed is greater than the skew threshold, then other paths will be analyzed if there are other paths available 1630. If there are no other paths available, then a notification is sent indicating that the signal cannot be sent as two signal portions 1635. One skilled in the art will understand that although the above process is described in regard to two communication paths, more than two paths can also be analyzed.
One skilled in the art will recognize that the above-described method for calculating latency across diverse paths may be applied to any number of paths greater than two. Additionally, the method may be applied to any type of network including, but not limited to, submarine, trans-oceanic optical systems.
While the invention has been described in conjunction with several specific embodiments, it is evident to those skilled in the art that many further alternatives, modifications and variations will be apparent in light of the foregoing description. Thus, the invention described herein is intended to embrace all such alternatives, modifications, applications, combinations, permutations, and variations as may fall within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.